Cleveland Hopkins Int'l Airport Abram Creek Redirection

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport planned to expand runways to increase flight capacity, heighten safety, lower costs and elevate the airport's position in the world flight system. The plan called for a new 9,000-foot runway, extending a runway to 11,250 feet, and eliminating runway intersections on the airfield.

However, the master plans potentially conflicted with the preservation of Abram Creek, a sizable water source crossing the target expansion area. Protecting Abram Creek was a high priority for the City of Cleveland and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Protecting the Creek

The completed outlet for Abram Creek

The completed outlet for Abram Creek

Independence Excavating, hired for the improvement of Abram Creek, had the challenge of balancing preservation of the creek and environmental compliance with the expansion plan's goals. Additional challenges included a land-locked airfield abutting NASA Glenn Research Center, an interstate highway to the north, and a deep creek ravine in the south. This was the largest job ever handled by the construction company.

Independence Excavating enclosed nearly one mile of Abram Creek into four 10-foot-diameter reinforced concrete pipes measuring 18,400 feet in length. This solution allowed new runway construction to continue over the creek and existing ravine. Independence Excavating also excavated, placed and compacted 3.5 million cubic yards of earth, and did demolition and environmental remediation on the runway land obtained from NASA.

The Results

Our in-house engineering services also were utilized uniquely on this project by creating an on-site GPS data map of each area of contamination while leaving existing “clean” materials in place to avoid additional hauling and disposal costs.


Cleveland, Ohio


18,400-foot engineered waterway to preserve and redirect Abram Creek to allow for Cleveland Hopkins runway expansion. Excavation, compaction and grading of 3.5 million cubic yards of earth.

Services Performed

Project Management

Managing complex projects calls for expert engineering.


Large-scale jobs require a financially stable partner.